Extravagant Gift

(Image not mine)We were challenged on Sunday to not just read scripture with a mind to understand…but also with a heart to feel the emotions behind the text. The text that day was Mark 14:1-11…about a woman who broke open an expensive jar of nard, or perfume, and poured it over Jesus.

My feelings and I aren’t the tightest of buddies…but as my mind reached into my heart I tried to imagine what Jesus might be feeling. He knew he was hunted and his life was in peril. He knew Judas would soon betray him to the Pharisees…and for 30 pieces of silver which is the price of a slave. “Feeling burdened” would be a grand understatement. Then this woman comes and anoints his head, like someone might anoint a new king, with the beautiful fragrance of nard. The scent would’ve hit everyone in the room within seconds. This woman, was boldly showing Jesus her devotion the best way she could. She saw Him as more than her teacher or friend. Perhaps she recognized His divinity and saw Him as her Savior. And so, a year’s worth of wages was poured over Christ. To this woman who had very meager means of saving up, this was her most precious possession, this was her life. I imagine as Jesus soaked in the scent, He felt comfort and deep appreciation and compassion for this woman. That too is an understatement for His crucifixion was only days away.

So when the others stood to rebuke her, harshly, Jesus defended her and bestowed on her an incredible honor, that her story would be told wherever the gospel was shared…which has just been done again. I imagine her anguish at being rebuked, but then comfort and love at Jesus’ defence of her. But a year’s worth of wages….what is my life’s treasured possession? Do I have the love and devotion to give extravagantly as this woman did?

My mind turns to the disciples….I bet some disciples were angry because they haven’t shown that devotion to their Teacher and now they were beat by a woman. I bet some never even thought of doing so…and they felt shame. Her action reveals everyone else’s heart & values. There could be feelings of indignation, bruised pride and the impulse to defend that they had a better way to spend that kind of money. “It could have been sold and money given to the poor!” Her extravagant gift to Christ was seen as waste.

Truth is, as the Story soaked in, I realize I’m barely generous, much less extravagant, in how I show love and devotion to Jesus….my Lord and Savior. He, who gave His life to buy me back from eternal separation from God, deserves WAY more than the stingy offerings I lay at His feet. I don’t give Him the best of my time either. I am humbled…convicted. This needs to change.

Lent starts today, Ash Wednesday. I must lay aside Slothfulness and take on Diligence…to spend with my Lord the first and best of my day. And, I’m going to fast from what creates some slothfulness: Twitter and Facebook. That’s just a starter. =) I pray God will teach me how to give of my life in generous ways as well as to make my time count for something. For what Christ has done for me, I owe Him my life. Maybe it will seem like a life wasted to some…but my treasure is Christ and I hope my life will show it.

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